James Obst wins first WSOP gold bracket in $10k Razz championship

James Obst has claimed final victory in Event #26 of the 2017 World Series of Poker, cleaning house in the $10,000 Razz Championship and earning his first World Series of Poker gold bracelet.

Despite being short-stacked against runner-up Eric Kurtzman, who caught the heater at the final table and held 75% of the chips against both Obst and David “ODB” Baker, Obst clawed back against Kurtzman’s stranglehold of the mid-game to win an important pot against Baker and close with a rush.

Taking home over $265,138 in winnings, the 26-year-old Australian poker player will enjoy a healthy $1.55 million boost to his total WSOP career earnings. He previously finished runner-up in Event #7: $2,500 Mixed Triple Draw Lowball two weeks ago and has enjoyed similar second-place success in last year’s $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship. He currently sits in second place in the WSOP Player of the Year race, only behind Pablo Mariz.

Obst debuted in the WSOP in 2014 after enjoying success as a player in the online poker circuit with 888Poker. He is a vocal advocate for saving online poker in Australia from changes to be enacted by the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill (2016), which aims to ban online poker in its current form and make Internet gambling illegal in the country.

The Interactive Gaming Act 2001 currently prohibits persons from providing “interactive gambling services to Australians unless the person holds a licence under the law of an Australian state or territory.” The previously ambiguous wording of the IGA allowed online casinos and poker sites to service Australians so long as they were based off-shore, but the new amendments aims to close said loopholes.

The impending legislation currently awaits approval by the House of Representatives, but Senator David Leyonhjelm has been fighting back on behalf of poker players nation-wide – including Obst – to keep online poker playable for Australian residents.

“They are entertaining games of chance and considerable skill,” the Senator previously said in March.

“And despite the current lack of regulation – or, should I say, loophole of regulation – there is no evidence that online poker and blackjack causes more harm than the other services this bill seeks to regulate rather than prohibit, like online sports betting.”

Leyonhjelm has successfully gained a committee inquiry this week to make legislators review online poker as a skill-based game, one which should be handled separately from all others forms of gambling and sports wagering addressed in the Amendment Bill.

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